Thursday, June 15, 2006

Why I Think GMA Will Not Be Ousted

I campaigned for Senator Raul Roco in the last 2004 elections. No, “campaign” may not be the appropriate word lest some of you might think I was just some avid political fan who distributed a few of his stickers and posters to relatives and friends. Far from that, I was Roco’s over-all political campaign coordinator for Western Visayas. I was the guy who planned his itinerary, formulated strategy and coordinated all provincial sorties with local supporters in Region 6. I knew the man intimately having worked for him for almost 7 years. He was my very first boss right after I graduated from Ateneo de Manila University and everything I know about politics I learned from him.

So you might be wondering why a die-hard Roco partisan like me would say that efforts to oust GMA will fail?

The last 2004 elections taught me one hard lesson about electoral politics in the Philippines: voters expect candidates to have the capacity to “protect” their votes and to even cheat a little. I remember that during the early part of our campaign when Roco was still ahead in the surveys, GMA political operators hit us with several negative issues. First, they fabricated a corruption case against Roco alleging that he spent DepEd money for his posters, hired helicopters to ferry him to his school visits, etc. It didn’t stick. Then they attacked his character, claiming that he was a wife-beater. People didn’t believe that either.

Out of all the things they hurled us, what really hurt our campaign the most was this propaganda: “Sayang lang ang boto niyo kay Roco dahil dadayain lang siya.” And they polished it with a question: “Gusto niyo ba manalo si FPJ?” Our campaign guys were hard-pressed to come up with an effective “campaign trail” answer to this. The strongest reply that we could muster was: “Sila na nga ang mandadaya, ipinagmamalaki pa nila” and we would go off to point out how rotten our electoral system has become that cheaters brag about it in public and even make political capital out of it. The public didn’t totally buy this “ipinagmamalaki pa” pitch and towards the latter part of the official campaign period, we knew we have lost the “tactical initiative.” Even before Roco announced to media that he was leaving for the U.S. to have his prostate cancer treated, we knew we already lost the presidency.

Roco lost because he was seen by the middle-class as too idealistic, a politician who would never agree to cheating just to defeat FPJ. Roco’s inability to “protect” his votes and unwillingness to “cheat” was seen as a weakness and did him in with the voters, not his prostrate cancer. And mind you, it is not as if our camp lacked people who were willing and capable of manipulating election results. It was Roco’s personal decision and strict insistence to run on a “Platform of Hope” that stopped us his operators from conducting “special operations” on election day.

When the Garci tapes came out, I knew right there and then that it was not enough to topple GMA. Hell, the middle-class (tacitly) wanted her to cheat, spend government resources and do just about everything to prevent another moviestar from “ruining” this country. I know that deep in their heart of hearts, the middle-class "approved" of her actions during the elections and are willing to "forgive" her lapses in judgement. They chose GMA as the lesser evil over Roco who was more qualified and principled mainly because she was willing to do everything to stop FPJ from occupying the Palace.

So to those who are wondering why the middle-class, the traditional “enablers” of People Power, have not come out in droves to oust GMA I have this bit of news for you: the middle-class will not oust her because they have a sense of “authorship” or “collective ownership” of GMA.

I don’t feel any empathy for Dinky Soliman when she spent a night in a police precinct because she, together with Secretaries Emy Boncodin, Pat Sto. Tomas and Vicky Garchitorena, promised to join Roco’s camp but were prevailed upon by Malacañang not to do so. I am gleeful that Satur Ocampo and his ilk are now facing charges for rebellion because they too preferred to support Gloria in 2004. Buti nga sa inyo! Neither am I sympathetic to Senator Franklin Drilon who was supposed to be Roco’s Vice Presidential running-mate but backed out at the last moment when he saw Noli de Castro file his certificate of candidacy nor to Butch Abad and the rest of his so-called “progressive” Liberal Party bloc. I saw his book which was co-authored by Congressman Neric Acosta on sale at National Bookstore about “reforming electoral politics in the Philippines” and I laughed. They knew Roco was the most qualified candidate (they themselves said it) but didn’t have the guts to stand by their convictions. (In fact, their book is what triggered this rant.)

So to those who are now still actively advocating GMA’s ouster, I have only this thing to say to all of you: YOU SHOULD HAVE SUPPORTED RAUL ROCO BACK IN 2004. Your efforts will not succeed because the middle-class and the masa are tired of your political games. I know that most of you thought that Roco was “un-controllable” and too independent-minded that’s why you shifted your allegiance to some other “influentiable” candidate. Look where it has led you – a possible jail sentence.

For my part, I have pledged not to join another EDSA uprising if it will be led by the same old faces. The only way I would probably consider joining another EDSA is if all those so-called “leaders” involved in it will sign a manifesto to leave government service should the revolt succeed. This is my challenge to all those politicians advocating change.

4 comments:

Jay Javines said...

Hi Ollie.

Puso mo brother hehehe

lime said...

tama ka dyan, bro. nga lang kumokonti ang mga baka mag-hire sa iyo bilang political consultant hehehe.

Iloilo City Boy said...

Thanks. I will manage...

Anonymous said...

Time will prove you wrong.